Rock and Roll: where are the women? MIRIAM MAKEBA

Paul with two of our former UF students-- Women who ROCK!
Paul and I often visit the Rock Hall of Fame with our house guests-- because what a great place to take friends. At latest count, we've taken tens of people from three continents, including many many of our former students. And it's great for the two of us because the exhibits are always changing. My two favorite past exhibits were "Women Who Rock"-- if only more of those women were in the Hall of Fame-- and an early exhibit that featured drumsticks from drummers all over the world arranged in a huge circle like a big mandala of drumsticks. Those are gone, but some of it remains... like Jim Morrison's valentine to his mom when he was 6 years old and his Boy Scout Uniform when he was 10 ("And where is Grace Slick's Girl Scout uniform?" Paul asked.) And there is a lot to be learned in the exhibits, as Paul points out in his plea for Makeba:

More Rock Hall (because it's an excuse to post some great music). One smart decision the Hall made early on was to create an "Early Influences" category for inductees who shaped how rock sounds--people like Robert Johnson and Hank Williams. I'd argue that it's time to drop the "Early" and expand that category to more recent "Influences," because the sound of rock continues to be shaped by people from other genres. Case in point: Miriam Makeba. Without her we probably wouldn't have Paul Simon's "Graceland." We probably wouldn't have Vampire Weekend. Here's Mama Africa singing with Simon. "These are the roots of rhythmn and the roots of rhythm remain." (If you don't have time to listen to the whole thing, check out the last minute. It's proof that Makeba's breathing is more musical than most people's singing.)


Rock and Roll: Where are the women? MELISSA ETHERIDGE

The "Induct Melissa Etheridge" Fans have already shared this post from guest blogger Paul Beauvais. You should read it and might want to share it too.

The Rock Hall loves heartland rockers, especially if they're named Bob or Bruce or John 
or Tom. But it's long past time for the Hall to show proper respect for a heartland rocker named Melissa Etheridge. Let's be honest: a lesbian kid from Kansas can teach most guys a thing or two about being young and restless and bored. For three decades Etheridge has made defiant music about desires and dreams deferred. She has nothing left to prove. Just listen to this flawed yet wonderful recording of her performing one of her best songs. Imagine that you're hearing a scratchy 45 being spun late at night on an AM station. You've got nowhere to go, do you?


AND, In the Rock and Roll Book of Genesis, Bruce begat Melissa:

(Photo by Angela George, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Rock and Roll: Where are the women? SINEAD O'CONNOR

Okay, O'Connor is not my fav-- but Paul makes a great case for her: 

Yes, Sinéad O'Connor is angry. One might think her anger would increase her chances for being inducted into the Rock Hall, but the HoF Foundation seems much more comfortable with angry young men than angry women of any age. O'Connor is also crazy, but craziness, as Adrienne Rich explained, is a natural response when we are lied to by the people we trust. What critics sometimes ignore is that O'Connor is as earnest as she is talented. She continues to search for sanity, peace, meaning. And her search has produced beautiful music in varied genres for three decades. I still get chills when I listen to "The Lion and the Cobra" and "Throw Down Your Arms." On dark days I still listen to "Faith and Courage." Sinéad O'Connor's music never gets old: 

(click to hear)

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Where are the women? BUFFY SAINTE-MARIE

Guest blogger Paul Beauvais in his continuing series on women who belong in the Rock Hall of Fame:

I understand why the Rock Hall ignores Buffy Sainte-Marie. No doubt they consider her too "folkie." Hell, she recorded for Vanguard, so there's no way that she can be a rocker, can she? Ignore that the title track of her first album, "It's My Way," is a song that I can easily imagine Bruce Springsteen or Eric Burdon covering. Ignore that "Cod'ine," another song on the album, was covered by Joplin, Quicksilver Messenger Service, and Courtney Love. And, of course, Donovan covered "Universal Soldier," a great song, but back then he was still a folkie, too. And, if being a folkie wasn't bad enough, Sainte-Marie also penned "pop" songs: "Until It's Time for You to Go" and "Up Where We Belong" (for which she won an Academy Award). So of course she doesn't belong in the Rock Hall. But guess what? The older she gets, the fiercer her music becomes. She's put together a band that can rock her old catalog, and her new stuff sounds powerful and fresh. 

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame: Where are the women? CYNDI LAUPER

This is part 1 of a 7 part series by Guest Writer Paul Beauvais on a few of the women who should be in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Why isn't Cyndi Lauper in the Rock Hall? My best guess is that her versatility is held against her: she can sing superbly in many genres, so it's easy to ignore her rock and roll
Lauper was in the HOF "Women Who Rock" exhibit.
Isn't it time for her to be in the Hall permanently?
pedigree. Her earliest work was in cover bands playing Joplin, Airplane, and Zep, and her first demo tape led to a contract with The Allman Brothers' manager. But I hear an even earlier rock influence in her work: Ronnie Spector and the girl groups of the early sixties. That was music that never meant much to me, but Lauper managed to warp it into something fine, something funny, something feminist. The Rock Hall pretty much made her the poster child for their "Women Who Rock" exhibit, but they seem to be drawing the line at actually making her a member of the club. Let's hope that changes soon.
While Yoko Ono looks on, Lauper sings
 One more--I never get tired of watching this one--Cyndi sings Joni Mitchell's "Carey"

Guest Blogger Paul Beauvais - Intro: Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, where are the women?

On October 15th, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame published this year's nominations,
and Paul Beauvais posted on Facebook: 

"Rock Hall nominations. Let the kvetching begin. My first reaction: sixteen nominees, three women?

"A short list of women the Rock Hall continues to ignore: Bikini Kill, Tracy Chapman, Cher, Merry Clayton, Melissa Etheridge, Marianne Faithfull, Roberta Flack,The Go-Go's, Cyndi Lauper, Miriam Makeba, Holly Near, Nico, Suzi Quatro. My friends can name more."

Over the next two weeks, Paul wrote several posts on why he thought some specific women in particular deserve to be in the Rock Hall. He also articulated why he thought the issue was worth discussing: 

"I've posted quite a bit about the Rock Hall in the past week, and I imagine that some of my friends are wondering, "Why bother?" It's a fair question. The very idea of a Rock HoF seemed suspect to me when I first heard about it. But experiencing the Hall in person has led me to appreciate having it nearby. I've heard good music performed there. I've attended informative lectures. I've enjoyed some of the special exhibitions (particularly the "Women Who Rock" and "Summer of Love" displays and the John Lennon memorabilia). I've seen the Hall evolve (for better and worse), at times trying to curate an experience that provides a coherent narrative of rock history and at other times settling for being incoherent but in a fun way. As rock itself diminishes in cultural significance, the Hall will, too. But I hope that it still finds a way to be an important part of Cleveland's cultural scene."

In order to give Paul's posts a larger audience, I asked if I could collect them here, and he gave permission, so I will be posting one of these a day for the next week. 

Already the Melissa Etheridge fans have "liked" his defense for Etheridge, and we can hope that other fans will speak up and out for the seven women artists he has discussed and others he has named. Maybe even the Rock Hall committee will listen. For next year.